Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ARC Review: Some Quiet Place

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Publication Date: July 8th 2013 by Flux Books

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?
Some Quiet Place is a book I went into with pretty high expectations.  For someone like me, the synopsis was almost too good to be true: a girl who can see emotions in physical form?!  Beings from another realm that exist among us, without us knowing.  She literally sees emotions as living beings when people around her feel them!  But while she sees more than others... they can feel these emotions - Elizabeth feels nothing. Ever.  That combination of ideas is just too cool! I want to gobble up stuff like that!  I longed to explore this other realm further and get to know all the different possibilities of emotions in 'human' form!  I was also really curious as to what had happened to Elizabeth to make her so different - not only because of what she can see that others can't, but why all those emotional elements she sees simply can not touch her, in any way.  

I have mixed feelings about Some Quiet Place, mostly because despite dealing with personified emotions and 'the other realm', it didn't really come off as a fantasy-filled read.   Not to say that that's a bad thing!  Honestly once I got used to reading the book I was actually reading, instead of what I though I was getting, the dark, gritty reality of this story was a nice change of pace from the usual.   Often, Some Quiet Place almost felt like a contemporary read - it had an abusive home and an MC who is emotionally shut-off, distant: an outsider.  And when I say abusive home, I mean it.  There are multiple instances and most are severe, so fair warning. Oh and did I mention,  she also has a friend who is  dying of cancer. o.O   This is not a light and breezy fantasy romp and not something I'm especially used to reading.  I've read adult fantasy books where the MC is abused but none ever came off this raw...or tragic.  All these heavy themes a bit jarring initially but honestly they were also a  refreshing change of pace, especially with the amount of YA or adult fantasy I read.  So props to Kelsey Sutton for taking the road less traveled here!

The MC, Elizabeth was compelling, though sometimes hard to truly connect with - much of that due to her complete lack of emotion.  It makes her so impossibly 'other',  next to any and all humans...and last time I checked, I'm human too. (Right??)  What I'm trying to say, is that I got the impression that Elizabeth was written with that purpose in mind;  to seem mostly separate from humanity.  How could she not be when she simply is incapable of feeling anything.   I empathized with her though, especially when she began taking interest in why she's so different and what happened to make her this way.  At times she frustrated me though because from the outside, it seemed like she was blindly clinging on to her stubbornness sometimes - instead of determinedly searching for answers.  Honestly though when the truth comes out, it's a little easier to understand why she clung to her notions and I could see the logic behind her resistance.  The more she began to dig & search, she was able to piece things together bit by bit and the effect it had on her was clear...even if she couldn't see it yet.  And that made me root for her even more.  I cared.  I wanted to put the puzzle pieces together.  I did manage to guess the finale outcome before the MC did but even then, I wanted to know when she'd figure it all out - and how she'd take it. 

I realize that this review is kind of cryptic, but there's not much I can discuss plot-wise without spoilers.  So let's move on to things I can talk about!  The supporting cast of characters is solid & memorable throughout, from the humans in Elizabeth's everyday life - as horrible as some of them are, there are simply wonderful ones to balance things out.  The emotions and elements though are truly something, each physical being seeming to truly embody the emotion or element in question, in every single combination imaginable, from the truly dreamy bad boy to a really (really!) horrifying presence.  I would have liked more information on their world and their origins though and would have gladly traded off some of the slower moving scenes for some sort of 'other realm' history lesson.

I guess my ambivalence with Some Quiet Place mostly stems from me expecting a paranormal-heavy story and getting more of a contemporary vibe with fantasy or paranormal elements thrown in.  I think this could be an excellent book for contemporary readers who tend to mostly dabble in fantasy-lite stories.  And I know I've said this before but I'm BIG on MC-reader connections and as someone on the high-emotion side, Elizabeth kept me at a distance when I would have wanted us to be more like BFF's... it's almost like her inability to feel rubbed off on me.  Only I did care, just not as much as I would have wanted to.  The ending was satisfying, but since I'd already pieced together the big twist, I can't say how the surprise element would have affected my overall impression.  I'm guessing if you haven't guessed the twists before they happen, you might just really be blown away!   Despite my lack of surprise, I appreciated the way everything fit together so well - no lingering loose ends and everything stayed true to whatever we'd learned previously.  I know I'm kind of all over the place here, but the bottom line for me really is: I finished Some Quiet Place 3 days ago now, and I still really want to discuss it with someone - anyone!  And to me, that defines a book that was worth my time.

 My rating: 3 out of 5 stars


**Thanks to Flux Books for the ARC of Some Quiet Place that was provided in exchange for an honest review!**

11 comments:

  1. So, I'm not going to read your review yet because I have this book to read soon too. But, I gotta say I'm a little bummed about the rating. :( I'll come back and fully read your review after I read the book.

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  2. Hmmm super intriguing. Though it didn't blow you away, I think I would be more receptive to the contemp with paranormal elements than you were. That's much more my style. So, definitely one I will be checking out!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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  3. Woah, I was not expecting this one to have an MC with a home life like you described! That makes it more interesting, as it's something not seen all the time in YA. Thanks for the heads up about it having a more contemporary feel, at least I'll know what I'm getting into if I pick this one up. I'm sorry you didn't love this one. Fantastic review! :)

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  4. It does sound interesting, so maybe if my library gets a copy I'll pick it up :)Thanks for the review!

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  5. I was already interested in this book, but after reading your review I am even more intrigued. It sounds like something I would really enjoy if it reads more like a contemporary with paranormal elements. Fabulous review love!

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  6. Oooh yikes, I totally would have been expecting a paranormal read. I mean, that dress doesn't exactly scream contemporary/going to prom. O_O

    Thanks for the warning, which will be helpful if I ever do get around to this.

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  7. What a great review Micheline! And I think I could possible really, really enjoy a story like this. Sometimes, it's really good being forewarned, because if you expect one thing and get something else, it's easy to be a little disappointed.

    I'll put this on my 'dark' shelf on TBR ;)

    Happy reading Micheline!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    2. Apparently, I have very bad memory, because I have an ARC of Some Quiet Place... :D

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  8. I don't know how I missed this review in my reader earlier D: I'm glad you mentioned you were reviewing it this week! You're very right about it feeling more like a contemporary, especially for the first half ;-). I also wasn't surprised by the big reveal, though I thought it was interesting.

    SPOILERS: I was unsure about the hybrid children thing and how Elements/Emotions dying and being replaced works. I wanted more technical answers ;-)

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  9. Say whaaa? I don't know what's more trippy, the premise or the cover. But I'm loving it, as well! That whole concept sounds completely fascinating to me. But I can see how that would make the protag a bit difficult to connect with. She's obviously been through some hard times so it's hard not to feel some sympathy like you did, but I'm with you, I want to be able to truly relate to the MC! And as for the contemporary feel to this story, it's hard to say how I would feel about that without reading it so I'm curious. Because sometimes I like it when books read as contemporary with just a touch of fantasy or paranormal, but sometimes I want MORE as well. Hummm, well I'm definitely intrigued and curious about this one, but I can't say I'm considering it as a priority read because of the MC. I really appreciated the review though! Very helpful and enlightening, Mich!

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